Speakers & Trainers

Basic CMYK


Mr. Michael Spanos is a corporate executive with extensive hands-on entrepreneurial experience in sustainability, corporate responsibility, management consulting, investments and business information with exceptional communication and networking skills and a demonstrable track record of delivering sustainability and business development solutions. Michael is an accomplished project manager, accustomed in working in international and multi-cultural environments, with solid analytical and quantitative skills and strong synthesis and strategic thinking ability. He is an expert in representing initiatives in high-profile settings and venues with outstanding stakeholder engagement skills and the ability to build meaningful and long lasting relationships with clients and partners.

Michael is the founder and Managing Partner of Global Sustain where for the past ten years he provides leadership in sustainability strategy issues, CR measurement and reporting, supporting CR activities, assisting companies in improving sustainability performance and recognition through metrics/indices, awards and initiatives, serving as the critical link for the formation of external partnerships with NGOs/foundations, think tanks, institutions, governments, and other businesses to accomplish sustainability objectives. He is also engaged in organising sustainability conferences and training events and offering practical guidance to companies on the implementation of responsible investment practices. He has presented in international events and produced international publications on responsible investments and sustainable leadership. Michael also collaborates with sustainability driven international organisations such as the Global Reporting Initiative, Principles for Responsible Investment, United Nations Global Compact, (he is a member of the secretariat of the Global Compact Network in Greece), EFQM, Institute of Directors, Social Value International, European Commission & Parliament and the CEO Clubs International (he is a member of the Advisory Board in Greece). In the past he has held senior positions in a venture capital firm and a closed-end fund engaging in business plans for private investments, company feasibility and valuation, business training and project management. For five years, Michael also worked for ICAP Group, the largest business information and consulting firm in South-East Europe, as Senior Manager in risk management projects. Michael holds an MBA and a diploma in Production Engineering and Management and speaks English, French and Greek.


VALAVANI C0409Ms. Mina Valavani, Head of Sustainability, CSR and Media Relations manager for ELAIS-UNILEVER HELLAS

Born in Athens, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry & Master of Science in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the USA Universities: Fairleigh Dickinson, Teaneck, NJ and New York University, New York, NY, respectively.

Since 1987, she has been working at ELAIS-UNILEVER HELLAS in various positions: Initially in Marketing responsible for many different products brands such as Altis Olive oil, Becel pro.activ, Calve, Iglo etc. In 1999, Mina undertook the organization and launched the Departments of Nutrition and Consumer Service. In January 2001, she also became responsible for the company’s Public Relations before moving in 2003 to Unilever Europe in London as Head of Nutrition & Scientific Communication, responsible for all European countries in the Heart Health business (Becel & Flora/ Becel pro.activ products). In 2010, she has also worked at Unilever Poland as Communications and Media Relations Director for Poland and the Baltic countries.

Mina is currently Head of the Department of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility programs and Media Relations Manager for Unilever in Greece.

Municipal Waste Europe

IMG_0311 (2)Ms. Vanya Veras has more than 15 years of experience in waste management legislation, practices and systems. She joined Municipal Waste Europe as their Secretary General in 2012; the association which represents municipalities and their public waste management companies, in their public responsibility and engagement in waste management services.

Vanya Veras is a multinational, multicultural individual who began her career in Brussels in 1996 in the field of environmental policy, beginning her specialization in waste policy in 1999. After almost twelve years in Brussels, Vanya was offered the opportunity to return to her home country, Greece, with Coca-Cola Hellenic and there held the position of Environmental Affairs Manager for three years, learning a great deal about the practical functioning of various extended producer responsibility systems in the European Member States within the group’s 28 countries and facilitating the transfer of knowledge between them. Opting to remain in Greece as a freelance consultant, Ms. Veras worked with several companies and local authorities, advising them on a variety of environmental issues, including the position of special advisor on waste management to the then Mayor of Piraeus, Vassilis Michaloliakos.

With the benefit of this combined experience of the waste industry, the producer and the local authority, Vanya Veras is now leading Municipal Waste Europe through the revision of the waste legislation.


Piasecki 2016 Book Releases

Dr. Bruce Piasecki is the president and founder of AHC Group, Inc., a management consulting firm specializing in energy, materials, and environmental corporate matters, whose clients range from Suncor Energy, Hess, FMC, the Warren Buffet firm Shaw Industries, Toyota and other global companies in his Corporate Affiliates training workshops. Piasecki is the author of several seminal books on business strategy, valuation, and corporate change, including the Nature Society’s book of the year, In Search of Environmental Excellence: Moving Beyond the Blame as well as recent New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller Doing More With Less. Since 1981, he has advised companies about the critical areas of corporate governance, energy, environmental strategy, product innovation, and sustainability strategy with his teams of Senior Associates. See www.ahcgroup.com for more details.


BT-JohnPerkins-003Mr. John Perkins. As BT’s programme manager for Sustainable Business Team, John Perkins leads BT’s digital inclusion initiatives that are key to the company’s responsible and sustainable business activities, and on the measurement of the resulting social and business benefits.

Passionate about the transformational power that communication has to make a real difference to people’s lives, John is responsible for building, measuring and managing grass-roots digital inclusion programmes across the globe. Through these programmes, John works with a range of delivery partners from the private, public and 3rd sectors to enable thousands of people to become competent, confident and committed internet users. John works with influencers and stakeholders to develop opportunities that align BT’s social and commercial objectives to demonstrate the positive value and impact of being online for the worldwide community such as social inclusion, telehealth and other personal and economic benefits.

His work on developing ways to measure the social impact of BT’s digital inclusion projects has been widely recognised as business leading. He is currently chair of the Government Digital Services Research Working Group.

Alongside his digital inclusion work John is a dedicated BT volunteer, working as a BT Digital Friend, a London 2012 Games Maker and as a BT Red Coat at the 2014 Young Science and Technology Exhibition in Dublin. He will also be working as a volunteer at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.


ManuelLianos2013Mr. Manuel Lianos is European Director of LNE Group. He leads a team of international grant writers, developing and writing grant applications for a wide variety of national & international funding programs, including the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020.

Prior to joining LNE Group, he worked as concept manager with the init AG, one of the leading German providers for e-government solutions. He designed communication concepts for several clients, including federal ministries. He started focusing on political journalism and public affairs. He played a substantial role in establishing the leading periodical on professional public affairs in Germany, “politik&kommunikation”. He holds a Diploma in Political Science from the University of Marburg, Germany.

Salavopoulos_400x400Mr. Yannis Salavopoulos, after having worked as a Lawyer in Athens with expertise in company law for a few years, he entered, the Diplomatic Corps. He held posts at Embassies of Greece in United Arab Emirates, Dubai (2006-2007) and in Germany, Berlin (2007–2014).

As First Embassy Secretary for Economic & Commercial Affairs first in Dubai and then in Berlin, he was responsible for the bilateral economic, trade & investment relations as well as for economic, finance, energy, climate and sustainability policy issues. Later on (2014-2015) he became Desk Officer for the bilateral economic relations of Greece to Germany, USA, Canada, Austria, Switzerland & Cyprus at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He is an Expert on German economic & trade policy issues. He is Member at the Supervisory Board of German European Business College. He was elected twice as President at Club of Economic & Commercial Diplomats in Berlin. He is Founder & President of International Club, CAPITALS Business Circle.

SKMr. Spyros Kouvelis was born in Athens, Greece. He holds a BSc in Economics from the University of Athens and an MSc in Agricultural/Environmental Economics from the University of Reading in the UK.

He runs his consulting firm on sustainable development and international business development, including green energy, innovative technology, and quality products, with client companies from Japan and UAE to USA and India.

He advises the Government of Lebanon (Presidency of the Council of Ministers) and the Mediterranean Action Plan of the United Nations Environment Programme as Senior Expert on Sustainable Development and on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) through a number of EU-funded projects. Among them the Switch-Med, carried out by the UNEP/MAP SCP centre, based in Barcelona http://www.enpi-info.eu/mainmed.php?id=449&id_type=10. He is also the Senior Advisor to the UNEP/MAP Secretariat and Blue Plan for the review of the Mediterranean Strategy on Sustainable Development for the period 2016-2025.

Spyros participates as a Mentor in Endeavor Greece http://www.endeavor.org.gr/en.

Since 2014 he is President of the Greek Eurasian Business Council (www.gebc.gr) working on business development between Greece and the Eurasian Union countries.

He established in 2012 an all-volunteering campaign under the title “Greeks Can!” showcasing the best examples for entrepreneurship, innovation, art, and quality, developed by Greeks, without any state support, at a time of crisis, aiming to give an incentive to other (mostly young) Greek people to follow the example.

Spyros was elected Member of the Greek Parliament in 2009 (Athens) for a second term from October 2009 until June 2011, and served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (2009-2011). His duties included economic and energy diplomacy, development co-operation and humanitarian assistance, and environmental and cultural diplomacy.

He was first elected Member of the Greek Parliament as an MP of State in September 2007 with the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK). He was immediately appointed Political Representative (Shadow Minister) of the Socialist Party on Environment, Energy, and Planning issues until 2009 that he took up duty at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

From May 2007 until his election he worked with the Mediterranean Action Plan of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as Officer in charge of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development and the implementation of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development.

He was president of the International Film and Visual Arts Festival of Rhodes – Ecofilms from 2004 until 2007.

From 2001 to 2007 he held the position of MedWet Coordinator, directing the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative Unit in Athens, a Ramsar out-posted unit for the entire Mediterranean region.

In 1997 he was appointed Advisor to the Deputy Minister of Environment, Planning and Public Works of Greece, where he worked until 2001.

He has worked extensively with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) since 1991 where he was the Conservation Director from 1995 to 1997 and member of the Management Team directing the organization. Member of the agriculture and European policy teams of WWF International, and chair of the WWF Mediterranean Team. He also worked from Athens as a consultant to the WWF European Policy Office.

He is fluent in Greek, English and French and understands Italian.


SF 15 PLMr. Panagiotis Louizos is Senior Coordinator Planning & Strategy at the GRI, and he is responsible for the business planning and project management of the Corporate and Stakeholder Relations department. The focus of his work is on the GRI Organizational Stakeholder Program, which connects more than 600 organizations from over 60 countries committed to advancing sustainability reporting. He is also working closely with GRI’s Regional Hubs, which are national offices that drive GRI activity in particular countries and regions. Panagiotis holds an MSc in Management (University of Bath, UK) and a BSc in Forestry and the Natural Environment (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece).

Schneider Electric: the global specialist in energy management

Dimitris IoannouMr. Dimitris Ioannou is a holder of BEng(HONS) degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering and a MSc In Telecommunications Technologies from Portsmouth and Aston Uniersity, UK respectively. He started his professional carrier in Schneider Electric France in 2005 as a Business Developer in High End Automation products, where he was responsible in developing the new automation platform in Central & Eastern Europe. After two years he returned to Greece in the greek commercial entity as Automation Product Manager where he deployed the new automation concept in the greek customers and market. In 2010 he was selected by Schneider Electric AE to develop and lead the Energy Efficiency Services team, aiming the reductions of energy consumption and carbon emmissions in electrointesive industrial companies and large buidlings. His current position is Sales Manager in Energy efficiency services in Schender Greece responsible for energy efficinency solution sales that are related to EED and ISO 50001 services.

Athanasia KarananouMs. Athanasia Karananou joined the PRI in October 2011. Her role includes developing, coordinating and facilitating investor engagements, with a focus on corporate governance issues. Previously Athanasia worked as a corporate governance analyst at HSBC Global Asset Management, where she was responsible for engagement with portfolio companies on corporate governance issues, as well as proxy voting and governance analysis of FTSE All-Share companies. Prior to this Athanasia was a senior researcher at PIRC, where she led a research team focusing on corporate governance analysis of emerging markets and sub-index companies. Her experience includes developing best practice principles, shareholder voting guidelines and market overviews for several emerging markets. Athanasia has an MSc in European Policy and Management, with a focus on European Politics and Corporate Governance (Birkbeck, University of London) and a BA in History (University of Athens).

Thanos Sympraxis logo rotate

Thanos photoFor the past 25 years Mr. Τhanos Βelalidis has been exploring ways to contribute towards a sustainable and caring world. Today he is an accomplished project manager focused on social contribution and CSR projects, with significant experience in cause related marketing.

Along with Alexander Deliyannis he is a founding member of “Sympraxis Team”, an agency with 15 years of experience in operational planning, fundraising, project management and communication of environmental and social projects. Sympraxis Team has supported more than 200 initiatives, of some 25,000,000€ worth, funded by 100 companies, 7 foundations, the European Commission, local and international institutions.

As a public speaker and trainer Thanos has offered services to about 1,000 people, in seminars, classes and on a 1 to 1 basis. He himself has the privilege of having received training by some of the great thinkers of the world such as Tony Robbins, Al Gore, Noam Chomski, Jay Conrad Levinson and Neil Armstrong.

Thanos is particularly proud of his contributions to: The “school that you want” initiative, forschools in need of renovation, with the support of Coca Cola Hellenic.The development and implementation of a recycling program for OTE COSMOTE (Deutche Telecom Group), currently used by 7,000 employees. The“Some forests have their own aura” campaign,reforestatingGreek mountains (more than 75,000 trees were planted as a result of the overall campaign), supported by the AVRAspring water brand. The “1againstracism.gr” campaign for the United Nations Refugee Agency. The coordination of the 17th International Symprosium of Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation, with more than 700 participants from 90 countries.

Finally, as a volunteer, employee and board member he has served local and international NGOs such as Amnesty International, GREENPEACE, ANIMA – the Hellenic Wildlife Association and his all-time favorite, ARCHELON, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece.